So for my birthday, my boyfriend and I decided to go on a little trip to London since I'd never been.
Baring in mind that we live in Newcastle, London is quite a train journey away. So after hours of traveling and multiple spells of me thinking I was going to be sick all over myself, we arrived in Brighton, which I did not realise was an hour away from London. (More traveling, yay...).
Despite the lonnnnng journey, Brighton was the nicest place ever, all the little winding lanes with little shops were super cute, and being so close to the sea really made me feel extra holiday spirited. To make things even more amazing, it was actually warm! Not shorts weather warm, but warm nonetheless.
As I'm sure you're all aware, the UK is not known for it's jolly weather, especially the North East where I live, so it was a nice change to be able to walk around at the beginning of March with only a cardigan on instead of my usual parka, scarf and gloves combo.
Since we were in London for the week, we of course had to see all the sites (Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Hyde Park etc).
I have to admit, I was pretty impressed, (although my feet didn't enjoy the many blisters they ended up with) and we even got a glimpse of Kate and William!
ONLY KIDDING! All we saw was a car being escorted into Buckingham Palace by a ridiculous amount of police, but I'm going to keep pretending it was Kate and Wills for the giggles!
The main reason for the holiday, rather than saving up to go abroad or somewhere fancy, is because I am a complete lover of Harry Potter (of both book and film), and have been dying to go to the Warner Brothers Studios where they actually filmed the movies!
So that's what I did. On my 22nd birthday. Don't judge me, I had the best day ever!
Everything was a million times better than I expected! I couldn't believe how many of the props, costumes and sets were actually there, especially when you see the sheer scale of some of the pieces. Don't worry, I won't go into too much detail and ruin it for you if you haven't been yet! (But if i may ask, WHY ON EARTH HAVE YOU NOT BEEN YET?!)
The tour is open all day, and we were informed from staff that it takes roughly about 3 hours to see everything. We were there for almost 6, so I'm not sure how anyone manages 3 unless they whizz quickly past everything and don't take any photos!
The beginning of the tour is the only part that you have a tour guide, which I preferred because it meant that I could go at my own pace and get to see everything, rather than being rushed within a tour group and miss something (which I would have literally cried about). There are a number of helpful and lovely staff dotted about throughout the place though, to take photos of you or to give you a little bit of information about the various things you will see in the studios.
Behind glass cases you can see iconic items such as the Philosophers Stone, Neville's Remembrall and the Golden Snitch that every Potter fan will know and love (and if you're anything like me, got extremely overexcited about).
There are 3 different sections of the tour, one of which is outside. This is where the Dursley's House (Number 4 Privet Drive) is, which is massive! You can also purchase some Butterbeer from a little shop, which is DE-licious! I've tried to make some at home before, following online recipes, but it tasted nowhere near as nice! I think it was the toffee cream that made it so yummy, but whatever it was, it was top notch! Plus if you get the more expensive of the different cups, you get a medium sized tankard that you can take home with you. For £5 it was a bargain really, and my tankard is sitting on my shelf along with some other things I bought from the gift shop.
The other two sections are indoors, and these are where the main bulk of the tour is located. The first, mainly consists of sets and costumes, whereas the third is more dedicated to concept art, prop designs and anamatronics. There is literally something for everybody, even if you're not as crazy about Harry Potter as I am!
One of my favourite parts in the entire studio, was located right at the end of the tour, and is something truly breathtakingly spectacular. But I'm not going to spoil it for you, if you want to find out what it is you'll have to go visit the studio! I promise you won't be disappointed!
Even the gift shop was impressive. From wands and robes, to Chocolate Frogs packaged exactly the same as in the films. I was in my element. To make my geeky fan girlyness even more apparent, I bought a massive book full of information and pictures going into even more depth of how they went about creating the films, including original costume designs, scale model drawings and interviews with the cast. And of course, as any Harry Potter lover should, I now have my very own wand (YAY).
For anyone who is a massive Harry Potter fan, it's just an amazing opportunity to see into the films this way. I know when I re-watch the eight movies, I'll be saying 'OOH I remember that', or remembering all the nifty little facts dotted about along the way.
So all in all, I had the best week, and the best birthday EVER! So much so, that we're hoping to go back later on in the year!
Harry Potter and London, I'm coming back for ya!